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Little House in the Big Woods: The Story of Grandpa and the Panther

Maggie Mae


The Story of Grandpa and the Panther 

This is Grandpa Ingalls. 



 Pa tells a story in which Grandpa is hunted by a panther on his way home from town. Grandpa shoots the panther. 

That's it. 

Which lead me to some questions about taxonomy. It's likely that Grandpa saw a cougar, which are common enough in North America. They are not normally black, though.  There is no follow up as to what happened to the body. If I shot a jaguar that had been stalking me, I would get it stuffed and then have a large black cat to pet. I imagine it was beautiful, plus it was over a 100 years ago so that cat was probably huge! 

Oh, and Laura asks "How does a panther scream" and Pa replied "like a woman." I have no words for that. 

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I’m not sure if it’s true or not but I feel I’ve heard that too. I think some large cats may scream like women. Maybe I internalized it there 🤔 I think it ties in with ghost stories and creepy woods myths and shit.

I love that the original illustrations are still around.

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Darn, I had to go and research a little since I just read Big Woods to my kid! Actually, if Grandpa was chased by a mountain lion, they can scream in a way that sounds alarmingly like an adult human female. Which is creepy. Youtube has some evidence for that.

I doubt it was black, though--I couldn't find any definitive evidence in a quick Google search that there have been ANY large black wild cats ever found in North America. Probably the color was added for scare factor, like a "my fish was this big" story.

Taxidermy is pretty complicated and involves special skills and tools. I would guess that Grandpa would just skin the thing, since furs were such a valuable item. Either a nice rug for the cabin or something to trade in town.

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On 1/16/2019 at 2:40 PM, AliceInFundyland said:

. I think some large cats may scream like women.

They can sound exactly like a woman's scream which is probably what he meant. 

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